Cyclone Gonu nearing Iran, causing concern about oil shipments

MUSCAT, Oman (AP) -- The strongest storm to hit the Arabian Peninsula since record keeping began more than 60 years ago is threatening to jack up oil prices.

Cyclone Gonu (GOH'-noo) is churning its way up the east coast of Oman toward southern Iran and the Straits of Hormuz, the vital shipping lane for Persian Gulf oil. The storm has weakened somewhat, but is still producing high winds and towering waves.

Oman has evacuated tens of thousands of people and closed a major port because of intense rain. Authorities have reduced operations at the port's oil refinery and may have to shut it down.

Iran is evacuating residents from a port city on the Oman Sea. State television reports floods have already cut major roads. No casualties are reported but Iran's IRNA news agency reports four boats have capsized.

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